When I meet a pregnant lady the first time I always ask her if she has thought about her birthing place, i.e. if she knows where she wants to give birth.
Last week I met a lady who was very clear that she wanted to give birth in a birthing house. Bravo, I thought, she is happy with her choice, good for her.
After chatting a little bit longer,we noticed that she didn’t know about all the details that where important for her choice.
When she realized that giving birth in a birthing house included going home with her newborn baby after a few hours, 4-6 hours to be precise, she was taken back so much, and said that maybe after all the birthing house wasn’t for her.

This little conversation brought many blog post ideas into my head and I will start with the basic fact of what a birthing house is and what it means giving birth there and what the differences are to giving birth at home.
At first we midwives here are always proud of the fact that the German health system gives you the freedom of choice. Your right to give birth wherever you want. Of course, always talking about a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
And now with the issue about the midwives in Germany, or the lack of them, this freedom doesn’t really exist anymore….if I want a home birth but I can not find a midwife, where is my choice?

What does it mean going to a birthing house?

  • A birthing house is a place which emphasizes on the being- at- home- part without being at home. For example, you have access to a bigger bath tub and maybe more equipment but in the end the goal is to give birth naturally.
  • Birthing houses are midwifery led, meaning, there are no doctors.
  • Midwives work independently, together in a team of 2 or more to look after you during your pregnancy, during birth and then later at home. It workes a little bit like a “Beleghebamme”, you pay them their On- call -fee but when it is time you do not meet them in a hospital but in the birthing house. Or the midwife comes to you in the case of a home birth.
  • Because there are no doctors, there is no artificial pain medication available, i.e. no epidurals.
  • You go home after giving birth. The idea being, at home you can relax a lot more than in a hospital bed. Your own food tastes a lot better, your bed is more comfortable, you have no strangers in your room spending the night with you, no visitors you do not want to see.And you can get in your own little routine from the start.
This idea scares a lot of people, being at home with a newborn baby and not knowing what to do. This is where midwifery care gets so important.
The thought can be frightening but at the same time it can be the most beautiful thing you can do if you are prepared. ( more here)
  • I guess we could say that overall there will be more time
  • More time for you to go into labour
  • More time, if needed, to labour and give birth
  • More time to bond with your baby individually after.
In my opinion giving birth in a birthing house is a little bit like giving birth at home but not being at home.
You might ask me now: why do people not stay at home? And I can tell you: some do after learning all the facts.
Maybe the ones who do go to a birthing house are looking for a different privacy than at home, no neighbours for example, a bigger bath tub, more space altogether.
And maybe a birthing house gives them more security.
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In other countries like the Netherlands or the UK, keeping healthy pregnancies and healthy babies out of the hospitals is a normal thing and home births are far more common than they are here and they do not have this stigmatization of being unsafe.
 What made you choose to give birth in a birthing house and or at home?
 Lots of love & Go leor de ghrá,
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Posted by:midwifeinberlin

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